Cricket: Grange Loan side made to sweat

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Carlton went top of the CSL Eastern Premier Division on Saturday night, but only after they edged home in a thrilling low-scoring encounter against SMRH at Inverleith.

When Carlton bowled the bottom side out for just 120, most of the talk around the boundary at tea was about how quickly the men from Grange Loan would knock off the runs required for victory.

However, the SMRH attack had other ideas and with new recruit Craig MacKellar leading the way with five wickets, Carlton slumped to 119-9 with last wicket pair Omar Ahmad and Chayank Gosain at the crease.

A leg bye helped them tie the scores and then, after two maiden overs, they won the match with a wide after a cracking 
afternoon of drama. Having gone in to the match in eighth spot, SMRH’s innings had got off to the worst possible start when they lost skipper Cedric English caught behind down the leg side for 0 off the bowling of Rob Thornton.

Martin Speirs was then run out well by Hamish Rutherford and the home side were 26-2 off 10 overs.

By the halfway point of their innings they were 52-4 and the Carlton bowlers continued to keep things tight and made it hard for the batsmen to hit boundaries.

After 40 overs SMRH were 81-6 and that allowed Carlton to give young spinner Fraser Allardice a bowl and he did not disappoint.

Kyle Stirling, Fraser Watts and Kyle Macpherson all showed safe pairs of hands to take catches and allow Allardice to take 3-18 as the innings ended on 120 in the 49th over.

SMRH knew they had to get early wickets in Carlton’s reply and they did just that, Hamish Gardiner, MacPherson, captain Preston Mommsen and Stirling back in the pavilion with the score on just 43 and suddenly the match was very different.

That was even more the case when former Scotland captain Gordon Drummond was out with the score still the same and when Fraser Watts played on for 32 they were 88-6 with former Heriot’s man MacKeller having done a lot of the damage.

Jamie Kerr and Rob Thornton then edged Carlton closer to their target, reaching 109 before the latter was out for 10. Carlton then pressed the self destruct button and when Kerr (31) and Allardice fell with three and two runs required it was left to the last wicket pair to get them over the line.

Elsewhere in the CSL 
Eastern Premier Division on Saturday, Brendan O’Connell had a dream debut as Watsonians defeated former leaders Arbroath at Lochlands.

All-rounder O’Connell took 2-39 and Paddy Sadler 3-55 as Arbroath were restricted to 213-9 from their 50 overs, Brendan Ford top scoring with 65.

In ‘Sonians reply, opener Andy Learmonth’s good form continued with the Kiwi hitting 43. O’Connell then made 61 batting number five before 22 not out from James Easton saw them home by four wickets.

A superb 104 not out from Cameron Farrell was the 
catalyst for Heriot’s win at Stoneywood-Dyce.

Skipper Steve Knox also weighed in with 68 as they made 228-4 batting first and in the home side’s reply Scott Lucas took four wickets and Mark Watt three as Heriot’s won by 13 runs.

Barclays Grange lost at 
Aberdeenshire, the visitors key men failing to flourish with the bat as they were bowled out for just 96 en route to an eight wicket loss.

In the CSL Eastern First Division, Penicuik lost at Glenrothes by 33-runs while West Lothian were bowled out for 118 and eventually lost to Forfarshire by six wickets at Boghall.